Saturday, November 03, 2012

Researchers Demo New Kinect-based 3D Puppetry System

This video highlights a new Kinect-based 3D puppetry system developed by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, Berkeley that allows users to create 3D animation with minimal experience.

What's somewhat unique about this system is that unlike most Kinect-based systems, instead of the using body movement to control an onscreen character or object, users manipulate physical objects to control corresponding 3D models on a virtual set. I like this approach to digital puppetry a lot, because it retains the basic concept of puppetry (real-time manipulation of a physical object). To demonstrate how effective they believe this approach is, the researchers used novices in puppetry and animation to test the system.

Although the system these researchers have developed appears to be somewhat limited - note that the objects in the demo are solid objects without any kind of skeleton or use of Inverse Kinematics or Forward Kinematics - systems like this are very positive developments for digital puppetry. It would be great to see this get out of the lab and be developed in to some kind of open source platform.

A technical paper on this project can be found here.

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